From Farm to Store: Post COVID-19 call for food traceability and transparency
Consumers are increasingly seeking information around how their food is produced, proof of where it comes from, and assurance that it is safe to eat. According to The Label Insight Food Revolution Study, released in 2016, consumers want brands to be completely transparent when it comes to food and personal care products.
The need for enhanced food guarantees and tracing is driven by increased consumer demand, changing regulatory requirements, and the increasing complexity and globalisation of food supply chains and production. If something goes wrong in the food supply chain (infestation, aflatoxins, etc.), thousands of consumers will be impacted. Therefore, the tracing systems and structures mustn’t have any bottlenecks in following the ingredients back to their source.
Tracing the movement of food through the whole supply chain
Food traceability refers to the systems and ability to trace the movement of food and ingredients through the whole food supply chain, from raw materials, through production, processing, and distribution, which makes it possible to locate a product at any stage of the food supply chain. Not only does traceability reduce food fraud, which poses a serious health risk to the public, but it also allows for quick and efficient recall of products, reducing the potential widespread impact that contaminated food products could have on consumers.
Traceability is extremely important for operational efficiency as well as food safety. It’s all about ensuring food safety across the supply chain and managing the complexity of tracking individual products from farm to fork for the food and beverage industry. The Label Insights study also found that 94 percent of respondents say they are likely to be more loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
Various technologies and methods are currently being used to trace ingredients, including simple printed stickers, stamps, and leading-edge blockchain technologies. An adequate system that transmits accurate, consistent and complete product information can also decrease operating costs, increase cash flow, augment productivity and efficiencies, and offer opportunities to differentiate products and safeguard brands.
FDA proposed rule for strengthened traceability
The FDA has recently announced a new rule to advance the traceability of foods that “lays the foundation for the end-to-end food traceability.” As stated in the article, “the approach we have laid out in the proposed rule would allow us to better establish linkages throughout the supply chain during a foodborne illness outbreak investigation, and more quickly identify potential sources of contamination and prevent illness and death” Furthermore, the FDA has also published a Food Traceability List.
Overall, as the food supply chain becomes more complex, dynamic, and more global in scope, the importance of traceability is greater than ever. Processes need to comply with regulatory standards and be consistent among primary producers, suppliers, and distributors. In the case of an issue, traceability can be a powerful asset in the analysis and recovery efforts.
Managing the complexity of tracking individual products from farm to store is what Santé is all about. Although a simple product may pass through multiple handlers, harvesters, packers, warehouses, distributors, and more, we oversee the entire process, ensuring that standards and quality are upheld at every point.
Get in touch with a member of the team to learn more about our traceability solutions.